Europeans Slow on the HD Uptake?

The recent closure of two of Germany’s HD channels has “cast a shadow” over European hopes for rapid adoption of HDTV, according to a study by Broadband Network Strategies, a part of Strategy Analytics, a Boston-based research firm with offices in Europe and Asia. The study also finds as much as 95 percent of all HD owners in Europe are not viewing HD channels, per se.

The report, “HDTV Channels Shut Down: A Sign of Things to Come?” says Europe’s TV providers should concentrate their resources initially on building pay television rather than advertising-based models, in order to reach the critical mass of HD content and receivers necessary to make HD a self-sustaining business.

ProSiebenSat1, a German commercial broadcaster, shut down its two HD channels in mid-February because of low audience figures. Now only a handful of HD channels remain in Germany (most of them pay systems), according to the study.

According to the report, only 5 percent of Europeans who own HD sets are actually watching HD channels. The report predicts the number of HD subscribers across Europe will grow to 3.5 million by the end of 2008, and 20 percent of all European households will have HD by 2012.